On June 24rd we woke to a different world in the UK. Many who believed they understood life, felt let down and desperate. Many who had felt unheard for years, finally had what they wanted – and some are content, some don’t know what to think.
We sit firmly in turbulent times, as those who lead us struggle to find their way. No one knows which promises will turn out to be true. And we still have two ‘sides’ very firmly in place. Overall, we’re in a stew that could easily spell disaster.
What if this is exactly what we need? What if we have been complacent for too long and needed a shot across the bows to make us pay attention? What if this is the best thing that could have happened – that the thriving, affluent, educated middle classes finally don’t get what they want?
Major change often need a crisis – otherwise why would we bother going through the pain required. When life is comfortable, we forget to check how others are doing – we assume everyone feels the way we do. We were even taking our democracy for granted, leaving the few to choose the government, then complaining when it didn’t go well.
I put myself firmly in this camp. I have never been political, I voted the way my mother did, so I didn’t need to really think about it – put off by the ‘bad behaviour’ I saw in Parliament. It just wasn’t for me. Despite a strong social conscience I never saw politics as a way out. And my Doubting Twin would never allow me to be that outspoken!
I knew that British people were hungry; that parents were struggling to keep a roof over the heads of their kids; that many failed to find a job that would give them back their self respect. And it upset me hugely – but not enough to put myself out, to drive me to action.
Until the referendum. There has been something in this vote that captured the imagination of many. Suddenly, there was a threat to our safe lifestyle. Now it was becoming personal.
I just couldn’t sit back and hope. I couldn’t risk waking up on the morning of June 24rd, regretting I hadn’t made an effort. So I joined a volunteer group – great people of like mind – and we worked our socks off to make a difference and point out reality as we saw it.
And we failed.
It took a few days, but I finally started to question: is this really failure or is it the start of something much bigger that we can’t fathom yet? Finally those of us in a position to make a real difference are energised to create change – not only for ourselves, but for those who have no energy left to fight – those who took the opportunity of the referendum to make their feelings known.
I’ve no idea what this is going to look like or what I will actually need to do. But one thing is for sure – I can’t settle back, comfortable in my safe haven, giving lip service to what’s happening in other lives. Now I need to act.
For a ‘have’ to ‘have not’ is a Turning Point, described by Greg Braden in his book of the same name as ‘spontaneously created by events in our everyday lives……..and the beauty is that we must cross them before we reach the tipping point of no return.’
Whatever happens now in UK politics, we can never return to where we were and it’s up to us whether the tipping point, when reached, is for the good of the many or the few.
Going back isn’t an option. We need to recognise that it’s time for a new world – one that is fair and equal. What it actually looks like will depend on the effort and care we all put in – and that requires us to give up on what was. As Braden says:
‘How can we thrive in the new world if we’re focused on waiting for the old world to return?’
So take a look at what you can do. Join together with others and follow your noses – the answers are out there for us, we just have to find the right questions.